Deep Space Nine: Season 3
The Search, Part I
Synopsis: During his stay at the Utopia Planitia ship yards (prior to his assignment to DS9), Sisko has helped designing and building a ship whose sole purpose was to fight the Borg: The Defiant. It’s over-powered and over-gunned for a ship this size but now DS9 needs it. And the feature list has been updated. In the hope to find the Founders of the Dominion without having to engage in battle the Defiant has got a cloaking system – sponsored by the Romulan Empire. Sisko hopes to contact the Founders and show them that the Federation is no enemy of them.
My Opinion: From a diplomatic and tactical POV this was a stupid idea. If you’d want to negotiate with the leaders of an enemy force, would you take your biggest gunship and try to sneak into enemy territory? It would be like taking a B-2 Spirit, landing it on the Red Square and trying to talk to Khrushchev. But I liked the general idea of the Defiant from the beginning. The Star Trekian universe has never been a very peaceful one and the Federation is surrounded mostly by hostile forces. I wonder how many Starfleet ships have been destroyed in the cardassian border wars because they weren’t really equipped to fight in a war.
The Search, Part II
Synopsis: Unfortunately the cloaking system didn’t help in the end and when the crew returns to DS9, the Vorta are already there and they negotiate with Starfleet. But Sisko and the others become more and more uneasy because of where these negotiations are going. Meanwhile Kira and Odo are still in the GQ because Odo has finally found his people.
My Opinion: I remember that – when I watched it for the first time – I didn’t see it coming that the changelings are the Founders. But this episode also made clear that the Dominion isn’t interested in being left alone. Now that they know of the wormhole they want to impose their idea of ‘order’ in the AQ and there isn’t much Sisko or Starfleet could do about it, short of actually blowing up the wormhole. Or as Aragorn said to Théoden: “Open war is upon you, whether you would risk it or not.”
The House of Quark
Synopsis: A drunken Klingon attacks Quark in his bar but accidentally kills himself. But Quark tells a story how he heroically killed the warrior in a battle of life and death. And ironically, some Klingons actually want that he sticks to that story, although for different reasons. And suddenly Quark finds himself as the head of a klingon house.
My Opinion: I loved this episode. Quark and Grillka were great together and the clashing of ferengi and klingon culture was also fun to watch. But divorce seems to be painful. And it was nice to see chancellor Gowron again although I have to admit the more klingon episodes I watch the less I can wait for Martok to make his appearance.
Synopsis: Dax begins to behave irrationally and aggressively. Additionally she has hallucinations. Bashir fears that the symbiosis is breaking apart and that they may lose Jadzia. Sisko and Bashir return with her to Trill but the mystery is getting bigger instead of being solved. Something isn’t right with one of Dax’s previous hosts.
My Opinion: This was an average episode. The ‘revelation’ wasn’t that interesting and the episode hadn’t much plot at all.
Synopsis: Kira is being abducted from Bajor and brought to Cardassia. When she awakes there she looks like a Cardassian. She is told that the real Kira died during the occupation and that she is an operative of the Obsidian Order who has replaced the real Kira. But why would the Cardassians go to such great lengths to convince her of that ridiculous story?
My Opinion: This was a very good story. I liked it how she became friends with “her father” despite him being a Cardassian. Kira has certainly grown since her early days on the station. And it’s again fascinating to watch “the simple tailor” Garak and how simply orders two cardassian warships to stand down and “forget” their encounter with the Defiant.
Synopsis: Quark buys some salvaged wreck parts. But then he finds a stasis chamber which contains an infant of an unknown species. Dr. Bashir finds soon out that there’s something wrong with that (extremely fast growing) child. He seems to be genetically engineered yet there is an obvious flaw that makes him dependent of a non-replicatable drug.
My Opinion: The concealing of the true identity of the alien was well done, I liked that. Too bad that the Jem’Hadar has been portrayed very one-dimensional in this episode. But since I know that we’ll see more deeper characterizations in the future I will argue that he was to young and has seen too few of the world to oppose his genetical programming.
Synopsis: When O’Brien and Jake Sisko try to purge a program from the ore processing centre computers they accidentally activate a security program. It was designed to prevent bajoran workers from taking over DS9. And every time they can break through another barrier more parts of the station get locked down until the program initiates the self-destruct.
My Opinion: This episode I enjoyed. Every time “Gul Dukat” announced another containment level I was like “Oh no, what now?” And it became even more interesting when the real Dukat entrapped himself on the station, too. The drawback of such episodes is that main characters rarely die on most shows. Thus you aren’t really worried about them. It’s no coincidence that Star Trek coined the term “redshirt“.
Synopsis: Despite the threat that the Dominion represents the Defiant is on a survey mission in the GQ. There they discover a planet that shifts into our dimension every sixty years. But the time it remains here grows shorter with every cycle. Jadzia falls in love with one of the citizens there and thinks about staying.
My Opinion: I really like Jadzia. But this is the second episode in this season centered on her and the second I didn’t find that interesting. The side-plot of Quark trying to get a holographic image of Kira was much more interesting. And especially what Kira and Odo were doing about Quark’s attempts.
Synopsis: Cmdr. Riker from the Enterprise visits the station but then he hijacks the Defiant by faking a warp core breach. This man isn’t really William T. Riker. He’s his identical copy, created by a transporter accident several years ago: Lt. Thomas Riker. And Thomas is a member of the Maquis now and he intends to use the Defiant against the Cardassians.
My Opinion: It’s interesting how certain organizations are supposed to report to someone else but have developed a life of their own and begin to exist outside of any hierarchy. In this case both Central Command (the military) and the Obsidian Order (intelligence) are supposed to report to the Detapa Council (the civilian government) but neither of them does anymore. I think some real intelligence services behave pretty much the same way. On the other hand: Do we really and honestly want to know what they are doing or do we simply feel safer because they are there?
Synopsis: Peldor joy, my friends! The bajoran gratitude festival is coming up and the station prepares for it. Vedek Barail comes to the station, as well as Keiko – who’s currently on a botanical expedition on Bajor – and the Betazoid ambassador: Lwaxana Troi. But something is happening. As if someone slipped a love potion in the punch people are starting to chase one another – but of course in the wildest combinations.
My Opinion: Although it wasn’t actually a love potion the plot of this episode is quite common throughout the TV show landscape and wasn’t that fascinating.
Past Tense, Part I
Synopsis: Sisko, Bashir and Dax have to report back to Earth and they take the Defiant. But when they beam down, they don’t land exactly where (or better when) they were supposed to land. It’s the year 2024 and while Dax manages to meet a nice industrialist, Bashir and Sisko are brought to Sanctuary District A, a slum without the possibility to leave it.
My Opinion: Although the timeline/time travel logic wasn’t logical at all (to explain it here would take than more than a few lines) I liked this episode. But it was scary at the same time. To use concentration camps (although not in the Nazi meaning) for home- and jobless people – a few years back I wouldn’t have thought it possible. But if we really slide into a larger depression now, I wouldn’t it put past some politicians, who are always looking for simple solutions to complex problems.
Past Tense, Part II
Synopsis: The uprising in the sanctuary was one of the turning points in the 21st century but unfortunately the important leader, Gabriel Bell, was just killed protecting Bashir. History is about to be changed, but Sisko mustn’t allow that, since it could jeopardize the existence of the Federation itself. He becomes Gabriel Bell. Meanwhile the Defiant’s crew tries to re-create the accident and tries to find the three.
My Opinion: This was a good conclusion to the episode, the storming of the district reminded me of the ending of Gangs of New York and O’Brien’s and Kira’s trips into other eras brought a light touch to this very dark episode without destroying the intended effect.
But I have to make one remark regarding the timeline: The alteration of the timeline was a bit too blatant. No Federation? No space travel at all? Because of the outcome of one revolt that happened even before the third world war? A bit much, don’t you think? But as I said the main story was interesting and scary at the same time.
Synopsis: Kai Winn and Vedek Barail have secretly negotiated a real peace treaty with the Cardassians. But on their way to a meeting a shuttle accident happens and Barail is nearly killed. Bashir tries to save him but he has to make a choice. For a real healing he has to put him in stasis. But both Barail and Winn insist that he remains conscious to conclude the negotiations. But this could mean his death.
My Opinion: Too bad Barail had to die but his story was pretty much told after he didn’t become Kai. But this episode showed again Winn’s real face.
Heart of Stone
Synopsis: Kira and Odo are returning from a bajoran colony near the cardassian border when they encounter a Maquis and decide to follow him. But after they’ve landed Kira’s foot gets stuck in a crystalline rock and that rock is growing. Meanwhile Nog tries to bribe Cmdr. Sisko so that Sisko will write a letter of recommendation for Nog’s attempt to enter Starfleet Academy.
My Opinion: The main story didn’t interest me much, Odo’s love interest in Kira never held much interest for me. But I really like this developing story-line, of Nog becoming the first Ferengi in Starfleet and thus following in Spock’s and Worf’s footsteps. And his reasons are quite reasonable and honest. I also liked how they integrated it in the Ferengi culture with Nog trying to bribe Sisko.
Synopsis: Three cardassian scientists want to accomplish what Starfleet hasn’t managed to do: To create a permanent means of communication to the GQ even when the wormhole is closed. But some Bajorans are really worried. The prophets (the wormhole aliens) have given them a prophecy over 3000 years ago: That three vipers will return to their nest in the sky (DS9?) and that they will peer through the celestial temple’s (the wormhole) gates and that they will burn down the temple.
My Opinion: Nowadays I always get uneasy when it comes to Sisko’s role as “Emissary” due to events that will unfold in the seventh season. But until now they solved the conflict religion vs. science very well and the origins of the prophecies are very well explained in the concept of the Prophets – aliens who live outside our concept/perception of time, a fact that was established in the pilot. And I liked it how the prophecy turned out – in opposition to the original interpretation.
Synopsis: When the Grand Nagus comes to the station again, he has changed. And he has rewritten the Rules of Acquisition. Instead of “Greed is eternal.” (10th RoA) it says now “Greed is dead.” or “No good deed ever goes unpunished.” (285th) it’s now “A good deed is its own reward.”. Quark is horrified and wants to find out what has happened.
My Opinion: This was a fun episode with Zak having gone “mad” and Quark trying to restore the foundation of the Ferengi Alliance.
Synopsis: After having been exposed to radiation poisoning, O’Brien is being thrust forward five hours in time and then back again. This happens at a regular intervals and O’Brien sees his own death as well as the destruction of DS9 in that future. And he plans to prevent both from happening.
My Opinion: Despite once again having some flaws in the time travel logic, I liked this episode, especially the parts where there were two O’Briens and one helped or protected the other. And they’ve finally installed the Darts board in Quark’s bar. I like all of O’Brien’s and Bashir’s recreation time activities.
Synopsis: After Bashir has been attacked by an alien, he awakes at the infirmary. But except for him, Quark and Garak and that alien the station seems to be abandoned. He wanders through the place, trying to figure out, what has happened and why he is hearing distant voices.
My Opinion: This one was an OK episode but since it didn’t happen much in it, there’s also not much to say about it.
Through the Looking Glass
Synopsis: O’Brien threatens Sisko with a phaser and beams them both off the station. It’s “Smiley”, the O’Brien from the mirror universe and he needs Sisko to help him. Sisko’s wife on the other side – Jennifer (who died at Wolf 359 on this side of the mirror) – is building a sensor array that would crush the Terran resistance.
My Opinion: This one I liked again. Out-of-character-episode. What can I say. The only thing that bugged me a bit was that Sisko slept with Mirror-Dax just to maintain his cover. It’s basically the same as Faith being in Buffy’s body and sleeping with Riley or Bizarro pretending to be Clark and sleeping with Lana. It’s just not right.
Synopsis: Garak’s shop gets blown up and Garak is hurt. Odo starts to investigate and soon discovers that the Romulans might have something to do with it. When Garak learns that five of his former associates were killed on the same day, he tries to contact Enabran Tain – the former head of the Obsidian Order – because he fears for Tain’s life.
My Opinion: This was a great Garak episode. His interpretation of the “cry wolf” fable (“Never tell the same lie twice.”), it being him who had blown up the shop, him rejoining with Tain – it fitted the character and helped shape it even more. I also thought that this plan was indeed something the Obsidian Order and the Tal Shiar (romulan intelligence) would come up with.
The Die is Cast
Synopsis: Garak has joined in on the operation to attack the Founder’s home world. The fleet of romulan Warbirds and cardassian warships is taking course to the Omarion Nebula. Now it’s his job to interrogate Odo whether he knows something he didn’t put into his report to Starfleet. Sisko takes the Defiant against explicit orders and follows them to get his chief of security back.
My Opinion: Now the numbers start to increase and become more realistic. With the Federation the Klingons, the Romulans and the Cardassians we know races that occupy the space of at least one entire quadrant of our galaxy. This space is approx. 4 billion square light years and that doesn’t even acknowledge that space has a third dimension. Yet the greatest battle known to Star Trek was the one of Wolf 359: 39 Starfleet ships vs. one Borg cube.
Now we’ve seen a battle between 20 and 150 ships. 150 ships, that’s a dimension we haven’t seen before and the Dominion war will provide us with even greater numbers and as I said, that seems only realistic given the vastness of space.
As for the other aspects of that episode: It was a good conclusion to this story and I found it interesting how Tain was still analyzing the situation even though he was about to die.
Synopsis: While on Bajor, Sisko has found the plans for a bajoran solar sail spacecraft. The Bajorans claim to have reached Cardassia with these kind of ships and Sisko wants to build one just to prove that it is actually space-worthy. And his son thinks about leaving for Earth, to do an internship to study writing.
My Opinion: When Jake was introduced in the pilot I thought that it was a good idea to see that a Starfleet officer has a family. But I also thought that he would have a minor role, to appear once in a while and then disappear again. But I like Jake’s friendship with Nog and I like how he has developed. The kind of interaction between Jake and his father in this episode, as well as the interaction between O’Brien and Bashir makes me like DS9 more than TNG.
Synopsis: Brunt. FCA. (Ferengi Commerce Authority). He comes to the station and closes Quark’s bar. Why? Because Quark’s mother Ishka is conduction businesses and she’s making profit! Quark and Rom return home and Quark wants her to sign the confession. Meanwhile Jakes tries fix up his father with a certain freighter captain: Kassidy Yates.
My Opinion: Brunt is the IRS guy from hell. I like him. He is a guarantee for a good story. And I like his actor (Jeffrey Combs) who will play both Brunt as well as (in later seasons) Weyoun – in one episode even both IIRC. And I like Kassidy. Her role here is much more likeable than the one Penny Johnson will play on 24: President David Palmer’s (ex-)wife Sherry. And I liked how the writers tried to argue against the upkeep of outdated traditions and roles.
Synopsis: The First Minister has died and Kai Winn is temporarily holding both offices but she plans on running for the First Minister’s office, too. But she has a problem: Shakaar, former head of Kira’s resistance cell, is unwilling to return farming equipment. He was promised that he could have it for a year but Winn wants it back – now. She sends Kira to negotiate.
My Opinion: Yet another good story. I like all stories where Winn loses a fight. And I also liked that all the former resistance fighters refused to fight one another.
Synopsis: Jadzia undergoes the zhian’tara, a Trill ritual where the memories of her former hosts are removed and transfered into another person so that she can learn where certain aspects of her come from and so that she can talk to the former host from face to face. Every of her friends is willing to be a host for one of Dax’s former host with Kira being Lela, Dax’s first host to Odo who gets the memories of the “old man”, Curzon. But the merge of Curzon and Odo has an unexpected result.
My Opinion: Although the fact that all species basically look alike (head, two arms, two legs) has been explained once in TNG (The Chase) I still find it sometimes unbelievable how compatible everything in Star Trek is. It’s rather the exception that something is not compatible, e.g. Betazoids cannot read the minds of Ferengi. And in this episode you can even join the memories of a Trill host with the mind (that is placed where exactly?) of a non-humanoid jelly being. Yes I know, I am nitpicking, but once again it’s a Dax episode and once again it wasn’t that interesting.
Synopsis: Sisko has just been promoted to Captain when there’s trouble at the Tzenkethi border and the Defiant goes there to investigate. But suddenly they lose control over the ship and it cloaks and readies the weapons for an attack on a Tzenkethi settlement.
My Opinion: Life at DS9 must be really dull when it is possible that the entire command stuff of that station – including the chief of security – can simply depart for a few days. While Odo was needed for the story, it could have been arranged that Kira stays behind, she isn’t even a Starfleet officer. But the plot that the changeling/Founder was scheming was really clever (from a Dominion’s POV) and it was a nice hide-and-seek episode.
The Season – My Opinion: The show has definitively picked up speed and especially the three two-parters were interesting. The Defiant was a very good addition to the show in much the same way as the White Star was a very good addition to Babylon 5. The characters are not “trapped” on the station anymore or have to use the small runabouts. I also think that it was a good idea that it wasn’t an exploration ship like the Enterprise because that would have ended in pretty much the same stories as TNG has shown us. Diversity is a good thing, trust me.
- Deep Space Nine: Season 1
- Deep Space Nine: Season 2
- "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" Marathon
- Babylon 5: Season 1
- Babylon 5: Season 3